HC seeks fresh list of public parks, gardens

SRINAGAR: The Jammu and Kashmir High Court on Thursday directed Director Floriculture to file fresh list of public parks and gardens.
The court also directed that in case a response was not filed, the Director Floriculture should present himself before court.
The report regarding parks/gardens, presented in court on Thursday, was rejected by the division bench of Chief Justice Badar Durrez Ahmed and Justice Ali Mohammad Magrey. The bench remarked that this report includes those parks which are housing official buildings and other departments. We need a report on public parks and their maintenance, not official ones.
The court also passed direction to J&K Government to file a report whether the parks in Srinagar are adequate in terms of norms of any plan of city.
Meanwhile, the court added Managing Director J&K housing board and Chief town planner as respondents to this case.
The court said, “We feel that MD J&K housing board should also be added as respondents as also the Chief Town Planner Kashmir. They be added as respondents no. 7&8 respectively. Notice be issued to them.”
The court also passed direction to MD housing board to file status report regarding parks/gardens which are maintained by them.
The court had taken cognizance of a letter by former chief justice and incumbent chairperson of State Human Rights Commission regarding need for earmarking areas for parks and green space in Srinagar city.
Treating the letter, written by Justice (retd) Bilal Nazki to the Chief Justice as a Public Interest Litigation, the division bench had arrayed Commissioner Secretaries of tourism and Housing & Urban Development Department, Director Floriculture, deputy commissioner Srinagar, VC SDA and commissioner SMC as respondents to the PIL and sought their response.
The letter highlights complete lack of parks and green spaces in this summer capital of the state and drew the attention of the court to need for identifying and earmarking area in each locality of Srinagar for development of a park/green space/urban forest and set a time line within which such work is undertaken and completed by authorities.
It calls for identifying encroachments of earmarked conservation zones for parks and green spaces and forthwith clearance of such encroachments. The letter calls for avoiding “at all costs”, permissions for conversion of land from conservation zone reserved for parks, green spaces or urban forest to residential or commercial establishments.
“The issues by the former chief justice in his letter are very important to each and every resident of the cities of Srinagar and Jammu. The State Government, it appears has ignored the pertinent issues raised by a dignitary of the status of former Chief Justice, which is clear from the facts that the government has not even care to respond to the communication of the high court,” the court had observed.